Iowa State University Residence Hall

Case Study

Opus Increases Bed Count at Lower Cost for New ISU Residence Hall

Iowa State University (ISU) selected Opus Design Build, L.L.C. to add a new high-profile, student residence, making room for 784 more students to live on campus in the 2016-17 school year. Scheduled for completion November 2016, the design of Buchanan Residence Hall 2 showcases how Opus can deliver more value for less money by applying Opus DB3.

Opus DB3 is our unique approach that takes design-build to the next level, effectively integrating all stakeholders—client, architect, and builder—for meaningful collaboration that elevates the whole project delivery experience.

ISU selected Opus for the project because of the overall value of its design concept for Buchanan Residence Hall 2. Opus submitted an aesthetically pleasing design that exceeded all ISU requirements—at a guaranteed maximum cost that came in $1.1 million below the other bidders and under the maximum budget set by ISU.

During the competitive bidding process, Opus demonstrated its significant experience in student housing and design-build delivery. As the only fully integrated design-build firm vying for the project, Opus drew on its collaborative DB3 approach to listen to university needs, and then maximized value by focusing dollars on the areas most important to ISU.

The primary improvement the university sought to achieve was to optimize bed count. The design accommodates 784 beds—a 12% increase over ISU's required minimum—at a cost per bed up to 47% less than that of other similar public residence hall projects.

Sharing its knowledge of education living trends, Opus proposed a brick-clad precast enclosure, and a clear-span interior floor structure that resulted in minimal interior columns. The flexible floor layout enables ISU to reconfigure living spaces in the future—to adapt more cost-efficiently as student living trends evolve.

ISU welcomed Opus' expertise, ideas and commitment to accommodate all project requirements without compromise. At ISU's request, Opus made changes to the placement of mechanical rooms. The experienced project management and design team was able to incorporate other betterments as well. The specified LEED Silver design was upgraded to LEED Gold, without increasing the project budget. The residence hall also includes a new heating and chilling plant for an existing residence hall adjacent to the site.

Design and construction is on an aggressive 20-month schedule, which will be fully managed by Opus, with regular communication and input from all parties.

Opus DB3 integrates all stakeholders for meaningful collaboration that drives maximum value.